Dear Brethren,

Kathmandu Bible Presbyterian Church, Nepal

Psalm 127:1, “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”

On 15 October 2011, by the grace of God, we witnessed the inauguration of Kathmandu Bible Presbyterian Church in Nepal. This is the first Bible Presbyterian Church in Nepal which the Lord has raised for the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to earnestly contend for the faith. Indeed it is the Lord who has built His Church and who has enabled a Bible Presbyterian Church witness to be established in Nepal.

The Land of Nepal

Nepal is in South Asia and is a 5 hour flight away from Singapore. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by China, and to the south, east, and west by India. It has an area of 147,181 square km and a population of approximately 30 million. Nepal has a rich geography. The mountainous north has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on Earth,  Mount Everest. Nepal is a poor country with agriculture employing 76% of its workforce. About half of the population lives in poverty having less than S$2 a day. About two thirds of female adults and one third of male adults are illiterate.

In Nepal, Hinduism is practiced by a larger majority of people than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal. Many Nepalese do not distinguish between Hinduism and Buddhism and follow both religious traditions. Sadly, only about 0.5% of the population is Christians. Indeed in the land of Nepal, the harvest is plenteous. (Matt 9:37).

Kathmandu is the capital of Nepal and it has a population of about 3.5 million people. Though there are quite a few Churches in Kathmandu, most of them are Charismatic Churches and are ecumenical in nature. The true Gospel of Jesus Christ is hardly preached and most Christians do not know the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. The Reformed Faith is almost unheard of in Nepal and Churches do not practice biblical separation. There is a great need for the truth of God to be preached in Nepal and a fundamental bible-believing Church to be established.

How did Kathmandu BP Church start?

The story is one of God’s providence and leading. I had a burden and thought of going for a short mission trip to Nepal. In the early part of this year, I emailed Dr. Jeffrey Khoo to casually enquire if he knew of any mission work in Nepal. About the time of my email, God has led Rev. Shachen Pradhan, a FEBC graduate, to visit Dr. Jeffrey Khoo to enquire about some Nepalese interested to enroll in FEBC.  Rev. Shachen is pastoring the Nepalese Fellowship Church in Singapore and also ministers to the Nepalese Christians in Malaysia. In God’s good timing, I was given the contact telephone number of Rev. Shachen by Dr. Jeffrey Khoo.

I called Rev. Shachen and met him for the first time over lunch. We had a good sharing of our burden for Nepal and the desire for a BP Church to be established in Nepal. The truth of God must be preached and taught to the Nepalese people. We are blessed in Singapore to be well grounded in the truth of God’s Word through the teaching in the BP Churches and in FEBC. We must share this blessing of God’s Word in Nepal.

Rev. Shachen shared of another FEBC graduate, Rajan Shrestha, currently living in Nepal whom we can approach to be the preacher of the BP Church in Nepal. We ended the lunch sharing in prayer and committing to God our plan and praying for His leading. We know that God must also confirm the same desire and burden in the heart of Rajan for a BP Church in Nepal.

Rev. Shachen made a trip to Nepal in April this year to discuss with Rajan the possibility of starting a BP Church in Nepal and also helped to find a place in Kathmandu for the Church worship. Thank God that Rajan has the same burden for a BP Church in Nepal and is willing to leave his hometown and Church that he was serving in to come to Kathmandu to serve the Lord to be the preacher of the BP Church. His wife and 2 teenage children are also willing to follow him to settle in a new home and school.

With God’s leading and provision, Rajan and family moved to Kathmandu in June. They rented a floor in a building with a few rooms at a village area in the outskirt of Kathmandu city for the family to stay in and also for the Church worship service. Rev. Shachen contacted the Nepalese Christians from Singapore and Malaysia who have returned to Nepal to join this new Church. Thank God that from July onwards, a few of them started to come together with Rajan for worship. In Nepal, the weekend is on Fri and Sat. The worship service is held on a Sat. morning The Lord has graciously moved in hearts for the birth of Kathmandu BP Church. To make the Church to be more accessible for the members, Preacher Rajan moved to a place closer to the city area of Kathmandu. This new place is smaller but the rental is higher. The new Church premises is on the 3rd floor with a room for Rajan and family, a worship hall for about 25 people and a kitchen cum dining hall.  It is a humble beginning for the new BP Church.

Bible Seminar for Kathmandu BP Church

Rev. Shachen and I decided that we should make a trip together in October to officially inaugurate the Kathmandu BP Church as well as to dedicate Rajan as the Preacher of the Church before the congregation. I wanted to spend the time teaching the Word of God to the new Church members since I would be in Nepal for a week from 10 to 16 October. We planned for a Bible seminar for 4 days from 11 to 14 October (Tuesday to Friday) and I would teach from 1pm to 4pm and Rev. Shachen would be the interpreter.

Besides the current Church members which now number slightly more than 10, Preacher Rajan has also invited his former Church members to attend this Bible seminar as well as to witness the inauguration of the Kathmandu BP Church. Rev. Shachen has also invited the Nepalese Christians whom he knew in Singapore and Malaysia to attend. We trust God to move in hearts to come to learn His Word.

Rev. Shachen and I arrived safely at Kathmandu on 10 October (Monday) about 1pm. We went immediately to see the premises of the Church and also discussed with Rajan the details of the Bible seminar and the inauguration worship service.

Thank God for bringing His people to come to listen to His Word at the Bible Seminar. We have about 25 who attended the Bible seminar each day. Among them were more than 10 believers who travelled more than 500km to attend the Bible seminar. For their mode of transport, it took them as long as 18 hours to come. One Nepalese man working in India took about 2 days to reach the Church and he brought along his unsaved wife and small child. Rev. Shachen knew him when he worked in Singapore. He shared to me how God has saved him and transformed his life when he worked in Mustafa in Singapore as a cook and was a drunken. During the Bible seminar, the Lord graciously touched the heart of his wife and she was converted to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. She was baptized on the inauguration worship service together with their son for infant baptism.

Those who travelled from far would stay in the Church throughout the Bible seminar. Thank God that He touched the owner of the building who allowed these believers from afar to stay in an empty room in his building. We rented mattresses for them to stay. God has always provided our every need. I taught on the doctrines of the Person and Salvation Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible and the Church of Jesus Christ for the 4 days. Each day lesson is from 1pm to 4pm with a 15min break in between. Thank God for attentive hearts even though the people have to sit on the floor to listen. A Church member even brought a few unbelievers to attend the Bible seminar. At the end of the 4 days, everyone has to take a test. The people enjoyed the class and benefited much from the Word of God.

Inauguration Worship Service

Invitations were sent to friends from near and far to attend the inauguration worship service of Kathmandu BP Church. Again, we see the grace of God upon us that about 50 people came for the inauguration worship service. We used the bigger empty room that the owner graciously allowed and rented chairs for the service. A Sunday School teacher taught the children in another room.

The worship service was chaired by Rev. Shachen and I was the Speaker. I spoke on Joshua 1: 1-9 on the topic “Be strong and of a good courage.” This was to challenge Preacher Rajan and the new Church to look to God for strength and growth despite the fears and discouragement they will face along the road ahead.

The Church must be strong to faithfully teach God’s Word and be obedient to the Word of God.

Rajan was officially installed as the Preacher of the Church with both Rev. Shachen and I laying hands on him. Thank God that Preacher Rajan is serious and willing to be used by the Lord in the Church. In the inauguration worship service, we also witnessed 3 adult baptism and 1 infant baptism. One of them is Rajan’s son and the other is a youth from the Church. The Lord is good to encourage the young Church with these who publicly confessed Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Since it is not often that Rev. Shachen can come to the Church in Nepal, we decided to have the Lord’s Supper. Thank God for the last minute purchase of the communion cups and plate that we can use them for the Lord’s Supper.

The service ended around 1pm and we had a sumptuous lunch together that some brethren had prepared. There was great rejoicing and thanksgiving to God for His blessing and goodness to the new Church, Kathmandu BP Church.

Sunday Worship Service

Since there were a number of believers who stayed in the Church and were only departing back to their home city on Sunday afternoon or Monday, we decided to hold an extra worship service on Sunday morning. Some Church members also came to join us. About 20 were at the worship service seated on the floor.

Preacher Rajan was the chairman and Rev. Shachen preached from the Word. Although it was conducted in Nepalese, it was still a blessed time of worship for me. After the worship service, I departed to the airport as my flight to Singapore was 1pm. I was full of praise and thanksgiving to God for the new BP Church in Nepal. God also mercifully helped me as I nearly missed my flight due to a very bad traffic jam on my way to the airport. I had to jump out of a cab to run across a road junction as the traffic could not move at all and then took another cab to the airport. When I reached the airport, it was 30min before departure time and the check-in counter had closed. The Lord delivered me as a kind staff finally allowed me to board the plane. God is very good to His children.

What’s Next for Kathmandu BP Church?

It is important that we remember to pray for Preacher Rajan and his family. He needs the grace and strength from the Lord to lead the Church forward. He needs courage from the Lord to faithfully preach His Word. He needs God’s wisdom to lead in the new Church. Do pray and encourage Preacher Rajan constantly.

In the interim period, the Church will be under the care of a committee consisting of Rev. Shachen, Preacher Rajan, Brother Ko Ling Kang and myself. We hope to be a blessing to the Church and serve the Lord in Kathmandu BP Church faithfully and zealously. God willing, Rev. Shachen will go every 3 to 4 months to the Church. I desire to make a visit at last once a year and conduct the Bible seminar when I am there.

Kathmandu BP Church must reach out to the residents and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. One programme we hope to implement is to conduct free tuition to the children in the neighbourhood. Through the tuition, the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be shared to the children and they can know the Lord Jesus. Their parents can also be invited to the Church. Pray for God to use the Church for His glory and the extension of His Kingdom.

A vision we have is to buy a piece of land and build a Church for the Lord. God willing, we hope to start a building fund and in 2 to 3 years, we can have our Church building. We trust and pray to the Lord to lead us in this area. In the meantime, God wants us to be faithful to Him. Jesus is coming soon! We must work while it is day, for when the night comes, no man can work (John 9:4). Pray and support Kathmandu BP Church.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Elder John Leong